Sunday, 7 May 2017

Exploring downtown Lima and its Bohemian quarter

PHIL: Day 84/ 8 May

impressive architecture in downtown Lima
Downtown Lima consists mainly of the Plaza Major from a tourist viewpoint and we leave the cold mist of Miraflores for hazy sunshine in the Plaza.
Colonial architecture is well preserved, especially the enclosed wooden verandahs which are attached to almost every older building. There are even some good examples of Art Deco and the occasional Gaudi-esque frontage which I guess slipped in from Barcelona.
a lot of armed police - for what?
There is a large number of armed police with riot shields and armoured vehicles around the Government Palace, but as before in La Paz we are denied a riot and the show of strength seems to be to protect (?) the ceremonial changing of the guard.
Watching the out-of-step squads marching to the out-of-tune band reminds us that the effect at Buckingham palace is a good deal more professional.

A quiet evening, first walking along the malecon (boulevarde) at Miraflores watching paragliders using the updraught off the cliffs to beat along the clifftops seemingly only just clear of the reflective glass of the high-rise buildings.
changing of the guards
Later, in Ba……., a quirky bohemian area of restaurants, pubs and older houses, we eat at a pub tucked away on the undercliff looking out to a rocky headland never visible before because of impenetrable fog.
Talk is of our future employment. Allie is concerned about my propensity for offering help and advice without charge to balloonists and would-be balloonists worldwide.
I have just read Paulo Coelho’s ‘Zahir’ – a book Allie started but abandoned because it was not graphic enough of his travels as opposed to his philosophies – and I reminded her of the ‘Favour Bank’ principle which Coelho expresses so well. She still thinks I do too much for nothing.
ALLIE: DAY 84: Tuesday, 8th of May
Downtown Lima: changing of the guards, more churches and plazas
Had a terrible night again...
So went for a run along the coast. That was good, but my body felt like a log. Miss my fitness. After a late breakfast we take a taxi and drive downtown.
The traffic is horrifying. The main square here is – guess what? – called the Plaza de Armas and it’s quite beautiful. It’s surrounded by stately and elaborately decorated main buildings with the presidential palace in the middle.
We wonder why there are so many police around. We even see three guarded tanks. It’s just midday and the changing of guards just starts with a band playing and some soldiers parading in front of the palace. They don’t seem to be all that exact and trained and some of the police nearly fall asleep during the 15min long ceremony. I nearly do the same.
beautiful altars in the church
We retreat to the cathedral for more altars, Maria statues, a catacomb with bones and a crèche display. Quite nice, but not all too special. Actually Santa Rosa, the other church we visit, was more interesting. It had a very Moorish touch to it and a lovely peaceful cloister.
An afternoon stroll along the beach and sundowner at the ‘Vista la Mar’ overlooking the coast. It’s been a fine sunny day, and Phil can’t get over the fact to see a mountain at the southern side of town, that he didn’t see for all the 2 weeks he had been here last. 
parliament in Lima
In the evening we drive to the bohemian quarter of Barranco, actually probably the nicest of all areas in Lima. It’s full of small colourful houses and various interesting restaurants. It was here that the famous drink ‘Pisco Sour’ was invented, probably by one of the famous Peruvian artists and writers that had been living here.
We walk across the ‘bridge of sighs’ holding our breaths and thinking of a secret wish. This love-bridge became famous through the song ‘Flor de la Canella’ by Chahuca Granda and was built in 1876. Since I have two wishes we have to walk it twice!

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